Heavy Oil Science Centre - Overburden

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Art Wells

Involvement in the Oil Industry

Art worked in the fall and winter of 1946 as a roughneck with General Petroleum from Calgary. Commonwealth Drilling and Regent Drilling came into Lloydminster about the same time. In the winter of 1946 and the spring of 1947, he worked in the Superior oilfield located near Blackfoot. As he recalls, about 15 wells were drilled. In the spring, water piped from nearby sloughs was used in the drilling.

Art went farming in 1947 but was hailed out twice. Fortunately he got a call from General Petroleum and went to work for them, northeast of Brooks. He did a bit of everything: derrick hand, mechanic, welder, roughneck and trucker. "If you could do it, you did it - you didn't have to have licenses in those days".

In the 60's, Art bought the N.E. 25-48-28-W3 on which six wells had been drilled. Although one of the wells on this quarter was the highest producing well in the field at that time, they were all shut down except one. Later six wells were drilled on his other land; three by Canadian Reserve and three by Texaco (which had previously been Canadian Reserve). They had now found oil on land they had left a number of years earlier.


Art recalls in '46-'47 it cost around $20,000 to complete an oil well and have it ready for production. At that time, roughnecks were paid $6.00 per day for an eight hour shift.

Art has a share certificate for 25 shares in the Marren - Lloydminster Oil and Gas Company. The share certificate belonged to his father-in-law Thomas Hughes and was purchased on March 9,1927. Art hasn't been able to find out what ever happened to the company. No one is sure if they ever drilled. He is talking to Garry Erickson at Saskatchewan Energy and Mines. Art knows the location of the planned drilling: LSD 16-24-48-28-W3. Art talked to Mrs. Ethel Kenefick, Charlie Marren's sister, but she doesn't recall much of what happened.

Art knows that in 1935 a well was drilled on the same section that the Marren-Lloydminster Company had planned to drill on. There was a wooden derrick and they drilled to 1763 feet and quit. Art recalls that the area was pretty much shut down after this. Later it was discovered that had they drilled another 100 feet, they would have found plenty of gas.

Around 1945 people went back and started to drill in this area. Andy Smith (Bank Of Commerce manager), Andy Rogers and Russ Robertson were in on the development of the wells on N.E. 25-48-28-W3, the land which George Davis later purchased.